I recently had the opportunity to meet someone who was completely self-aware. She was a woman who had a big job, a fancy title, and a ton of responsibilities. And yet what was most intriguing about her, to me at least, were the things she did outside of work. This woman managed three other roles, some of them volunteer, in addition to her full-time job.
Yikes! How was she able to do this? It didn’t take me long to realize she was smart, practical, and focused. It was obvious she was a good time manager. What I couldn’t quite grasp was Why?. Why would she want to do all of these things? What could possibly be motivating her? It clearly it took some sacrifice and some juggling on her part to make it all happen, so I finally just asked: Why do you do this to yourself?
Her rapid response indicated I wasn’t the first one to inquire, and her answer was incredibly insightful. She said each role filled a need; they provided her with something her main employer didn’t, and those things weren’t always tangible. One role provided a teaching/learning opportunity; another role provided projects with a clear beginning and end, something she needed in order to feel like she was making headway. Wow! She was so in tune with her own needs.
My takeaways from this meeting were numerous:
- This woman’s extraordinary level of self-awareness was inspiring. Not only did she know what she needed to feel good about herself, but she took action to make it happen.
- She took responsibility for filling her needs and didn’t expect her main employer to change her role or to provide something that was missing.
- Her insight motivated me to reflect on my own career (past and present) in a different light. If gaps were identified, would I take responsibility for taking the action necessary to fill them?
I hope you will take a minute to reflect on your own current employment situation. Is there a gap? If yes, are you willing to take action to fill it?
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